Pointing to the sacrifices made by previous generations to provide opportunity to family farmers and ranchers, California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said farmers have the ability to change their future, if they commit the time and resources to the effort. Wenger spoke during the opening session of the 98th CFBF Annual Meeting in Monterey.
“Those people who came before us gave us this opportunity, and the big question is whether we are going to answer that bell,” Wenger said, praising earlier generations who had the foresight to build reservoirs, roads and other infrastructure that allowed California to become the greatest agricultural region in the world.
Now, he said, the struggle has focused on defending the resources farmers and ranchers need to maintain and enhance production of food and farm products. In order to be successful, Wenger said, farmers and ranchers must work together—across commodities and across regions.
“We have to pool our resources, so we have the political might to change the future for this state,” he said, adding that Farm Bureau would continue to work closely with other agricultural organizations and partners.
In discussing the election of Donald Trump as president and the implications of the incoming administration, Wenger acknowledged concerns about trade and immigration policy. But he said the new administration would likely focus on easing the impact of federal regulation on farms and other businesses.
“We can look to the federal level to help us, but folks, all politics is local. We have to be involved, we have to be engaged and we have to invest,” he said.
At the end of his speech, Wenger returned to the theme of sacrifices made by previous generations of California farmers and ranchers to allow current generations to live a better life.
“What do we give back to make sure our children and grandchildren have that same opportunity?” he asked. “The baton is in our hands. What are we going to do with it?”
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 48,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.